Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists the gulf between Scottish and English football has never been wider but believes the Reds can still upset the odds and ruin Burnley’s return to European football.
The Dons will welcome the Clarets, who finished seventh in the Premier League last season, to Pittodrie in the Europa League second qualifying round first leg on July 26 but the match, which is being tagged as a battle of Britain, would be better suited to David v Goliath as far as the Aberdeen boss is concerned.
But that does not shake his belief the Dons can progress to the third qualifying round at the Clarets’ expense.
He said: “The English Premier League is going at such a pace and the levels of money being utilised in that league now is night and day from five years ago.
“There has been no bigger disparity between a Scottish Premiership club and a Premier League club like Burnley than there is now.
“I think of Celtic against Blackburn and Rangers against Leeds, and there’s a huge disparity now but it’s 11 v 11 and we’ll look to try to go through.
“It would be a huge shock for everyone if we did go through but the job of Aberdeen is to try to get through and we’ll try to do that.”
McInnes has huge respect for the job Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor but says his players are excited rather than fearful as the countdown to their first match of the season edges closer.
He said: “It’s an enticing tie. It’s the type of team you would expect to play if you got through to the group stages.
“We’re playing against a team which has qualified from the most difficult league in the world and for Burnley to have finished seventh is a huge effort from them and shows the qualities they have.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge but it is also equalled by the excitement of taking that type of team on.
“It’s not the draw we wanted at this stage of the competition but I don’t have to sit here and try to explain the merits of some team no one has heard of from far-flung Europe as we all know about them.
“Any English team which qualifies for the Europa League would be a huge test but we will do our best to come through.”
It is 51 years since Burnley last played a European tie but midfielder Jack Cork is determined to make the most of his side’s return.
He said: “The focus is on the European games, to try and get a few wins in that and try to get to the group stage. That would probably be a big target.
“We just have to focus on the Aberdeen game first. That’s not going to be an easy game at all. They are a good team. We have given ourselves the opportunity and I think it would be a shame to waste it.”